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Melachim uMilchamot - Chapter 4

Melachim uMilchamot - Chapter 4

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Halacha 1

The king is granted license to levy taxes upon the nation for his needs or for the purpose of war. He may also fix a duty on merchandise. It is forbidden to avoid paying this duty. The king has the right to decree that if someone does not pay these duties, his property will be seized or he will be killed.

These laws are derived as follows: I Samuel 8:17 states: 'You will be servants to him, the king.' Previously, Deuteronomy 20:11 states: 'They shall be subject to your levy and they shall serve you.' From this association, it is derived that the king may levy taxes and fix duties.

The statutes that he establishes in these and related matters are accepted as law for all the matters mentioned in the Biblical passage concerning the king are rights to which the king is entitled.

Halacha 2

He may also send throughout the territory of Eretz Yisrael and take from the nation valiant men and men of war and employ them as soldiers for his chariot and cavalry. Similarly, he may appoint them as his body guard and as footmen to run before him as I Samuel 8:11 states: 'He shall place them among his charioteers and his horsemen and they shall run before his chariot.' He may also take the choicest of them to be his servants and attendants as ibid.:16 states: 'He shall take... your finest young men... to do his work.'

Halacha 3

Similarly, he may take all those that are necessary for him from the nation's craftsmen and employ them to do his work. He must pay their wages. He may also take all the beasts, servants, and maids that are necessary for his tasks. He must pay their hire or their value as ibid.:12-16 states: 'He will set them to plough his ground and to reap his harvest, to make instruments of war, and gear for his chariots.... He will take your servants, your maids, your finest young men, and your donkeys to do his work.'

Halacha 4

Similarly, he may take wives and concubines from the entire territory of Eretz Yisrael. The term 'wives' implies women who were married with A ketubah and kiddushin; concubines, women who were not given A ketubah and kiddushin. With the act of yichud alone, the king acquires her and relations with her are permitted him.

A commoner is forbidden to have a concubine. The only similar relationship is the union with a Hebrew maid servant after she has been designated by her master.

The king may make the concubines which he takes to his palace cooks, bakers, and perfumers as ibid.:13 states: 'He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers.

Halacha 5

He may force those who are fit to serve as officers, appointing them as leaders of thousands and leaders of fifties as ibid.:12 states: 'He shall appoint them as leaders of thousands and leaders of fifties for himself.'

Halacha 6

He may take fields, olive groves, and vineyards for his servants when they go to war and allow them to commandeer these places if they have no source of nurture other than them. He must pay for what is taken. This is stated in ibid.:14: 'He shall take your good fields, vineyards, and olive groves and give them to his servants.

Halacha 7

He is entitled to a tenth of the produce of the seed and the orchards and the newborn beasts as ibid.:16-17 states: 'He will take a tenth of your seed and your vineyards...He shall take a tenth of your sheep.'

Halacha 8

The Messianic king may take a thirteenth portion of all the lands conquered by Israel as his own. This will be an allotment for him and his descendants forever.

Halacha 9

The property of all those executed by the king, belongs to the king. Similarly, all the treasures belonging to the kings of the kingdoms which he conquers become the property of the king.

In regard to the other spoil which is taken. The soldiers may take spoil. Afterwards, they must bring it to the king. He is entitled to one half of the spoil. He takes this portion first.

The second half of the spoil is divided between the combat soldiers and the people who remained in camp to guard the baggage. An equal division is made between them as I Samuel 30:24 relates: 'The portion of those who go down to the battle will be as the portion of those who stay with the baggage. They shall divide equally.'

Halacha 10

All the lands that he conquers belong to him. He may apportion them to his servants and soldiers as he desires and keep the remainder for himself. In all these matters, the judgement he makes is binding.

In all matters, his deeds shall be for the sake of heaven. His purpose and intent shall be to elevate the true faith and fill the world with justice, destroying the power of the wicked and waging the wars of God. For the entire purpose of appointing a king is to execute justice and wage wars as I Samuel 8:20 states: 'Our king shall judge us, go out before us, and wage our wars.'

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